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Stuffing (Fiberfill)

Stuffing Tips

Tips by Mary Leahy, courtesy of

Choose the right stuffingYou spend a great deal of time creating beautiful handmade treasures. The fiberfill that you use must be of the highest quality to guarantee the best results.

Two important facts to be considered when selecting fiberfill are the fiber content and how it is made. Today, most fiberfill is made from 100% polyester fiber and is processed on a machine known as a garnet. In the process of garnetting, a machine takes the fiber, combs it and lays it into a batt form. At this point the fiber is folded or chopped and then packaged as fiberfill. However, it is important to be aware that the process of garnetting may reduce the resiliency of the fiberfill. Also, the fibers are all running in the same direction, creating a flat surface which may cause the fiberfill to mat or bunch.

In contrast, Fairfield 's fiberfill is not garnetted. Poly-fil ® is produced by a unique manufacturing process that makes the fiberfill more versatile by giving it added loft, bulk, resilience and a softer feel. In this process the lifeless polyester fibers are exploded, much like popcorn. The processed fibers have a random arrangement which gives added resilience and eliminates matting and bunching. Because of this exclusive process Poly-fil will go further and stay bouncier for the life of the project. Testing shows that 12 ounces of Poly-fil will fill at least 25% more than 12 ounces of most other fiberfill brands.

To help you get the most out of your craft projects that involve stuffing here are some useful tips to follow. . .

  • Always select the highest quality fiberfill available. Each brand is quite different, and often a more expensive fiberfill will actually go a greater distance and cost you less in the long run.

  • Prepare area by removing loose threads and trimming excess fabric from seams and corners. Clip inward curves and notch outward curves.

  • Have stuffing aids ready. Items to try are a wooden spoon, eraser end of an unsharpened pencil, a T-pin, or a commercial stuffing tool.

  • When stuffing, select the amounts of fiberfill in relation to the area to be stuffed. Use small amounts for arms and fingers, and larger amounts for heads and bodies.

  • Keep fiberfill fluffy. Do not compress into a ball (to avoid a lumpy appearance). Many fluffy layers will yield a smooth result.

  • Work the fiberfill into the project with your fingers, then push it firmly into position with a stuffing aid. Smooth each added amount of fiberfill by gently compressing with your hands from the outside. In larger areas, carefully move the fiberfill into place by massaging the outside of the project.

  • To manipulate the fiberfill tightly into corners, insert a straight pin or a T-pin through the project and work the fiberfill into position.

  • For projects that require flexibility, follow the steps above without packing the fiberfill too firmly so as to keep it fluffy.

  • When stitching the opening closed, work the fiberfill loosely to the edge and begin stitching the seam. Work additional fiberfill under the stitched seam to create a smooth finish.

  • To add weight, for a posed appearance (arms, legs, and bottom), use poly-pellets┬« , a weighted stuffing material. Avoid using rice or bird seed which attracts insects and promotes mold growth.